Eighties Poster Child: 1987 Mitsubishi Starion

If there was ever an icon for the Radwood movement, the Chrysler Conquest / Mitsubishi Starion twins would be right up there on the top 10 list of potential brand ambassadors. The fender flares, chunky wheels, turbocharged powerplants, and flip-up headlights check almost every major box for an 80s hot hatch, and this example is said to be quite robust mechanically – to the point that the seller admits he’s not eager to sell it. Find it here on craigslist with an asking price of $7,500 near Northern Virginia.

For any of our readers in that neck of the woods with school-aged children, I’d encourage you to buy this car. The local government there mentioned today the prospect of only letting kids attend school two days per week, so you’re going to want to have a means of escape on the days they are going to the physical classroom. The Starion and Conquest have long been the darlings of the 80s car movement, but it’s hard to find examples that have been maintained and haven’t been modified – this example appears to check both boxes.

The seller is just the second owner, and has owned the Starion for at least a few years. He doesn’t elaborate, but does claim he’s addressed numerous aspects of the car’s must-do maintenance, and has converted the A/C to R134. While a more detailed list would be appreciated, the exterior seems to point to it being an example that’s been loved. The taillight lenses look clean and crack-free, and the factory staggered wheel setup shows no signs of major curbage. The vanity plate is a good sign it belongs to an enthusiast, too.

The only major issue the seller discloses is the 33 year old black paint, which he says reveals its share of bumps and blemishes up close. Black paint often looks good from 20 feet away, but older factory paint on a car that hasn’t lived in a museum is likely to look fairly tired up close. The same can go for the interior, which featured deeply-bolstered leather bucket seats (no pictures of the cabin are included). This is a model I feel fairly confident saying will appreciate over the next few years, so it’s worth a look to see if the claims about condition bear out. Conquest or Starion, it’s hard to go wrong with either.



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  1. Bmac777 Member

    These were fun cars. My friend had a TSI. I was driving it once and while at a stop sign a guy asked if it was fast.
    I planted it and popped the clutch, It spun the tires so fast that you couldn’t hear them and the car didn’t move for about 3 seconds and then started to grab, I hit 2nd and when the torque slid the ass end to the right I cut the wheel and spun 2 donuts in the middle of the intersection and took of out of there.
    I never expected that much from it and it was fun how being small it was like a Go Kart on the street
    We used to kid that TSI meant Terribly Small Interior

    Like 5
  2. alphasud Member

    That’s a good price and I would say a good investment based on the strength of the 70’s and 80’s Japanese cars. More rare than a Supra but just a cool.

    Like 2
  3. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    I love these cars, but how can a seller post seven pictures and not a single one of them of the interior or engine? I know it’s a tired old complaint, but it’s valid. Poor practice.

    Like 12
  4. Jay

    I live only about 25 minutes from this car, and I’d be willing to do some in-person reconnaissance for any Barn Finds friends who may be interested in it.

    I own a ’94 Mazda RX7 R2, so I consider it part of the responsibility of ownership to see that other Japanese bubble cars go to good homes :-).

    I agree that not posting interior photos isn’t ideal, but the owner did say he wasn’t 100% committed to selling and that he was willing to provide additional photos/information if contacted. Doesn’t seem like an awful way to weed out casual inquirers.

    Like 5
  5. Ed Stull

    I drove one, my pal’s sun roof company in LA installed electric moonroofs that no others could do ( SunRoofs West, Mark Malin). It was a torquey little coupe! That turbo made it jump. Funky interior…

  6. Miles Anthony Nicholson

    Very similar looking to the Porsche 944, interesting

    Like 3

    A buddy of mine had one exactly like this one but an auto. I had my Grand National at the time and he wanted to run. He was a loud mouth and knew nothing about GN’s at the time, not many people did, so I bet him a hundo. I spanked that slow anemic car so bad he ran away. Met up with him days later and he had nothing to say. Had another buddy with a white one and spanked him to. Not very fast cars but I’ve always loved the looks, they are sharp but slow.

  8. Paolo

    I sold Chrysler Conquest TSIs brand new. I took the first one we got off the showroom floor, a red stick shift version, and wrung it out a bit the first day we had it and can tell you it is not a slow car. Never drove an automatic. It wasn’t in the cards for me to own something like this back then but I would love to have one now.

    Like 1
  9. jerry z

    Chunky wheels?!? These are by far one of the best looking factory wheels EVAH! Tried looking for a set back in the late 80’s for my Toyota pick up but could never find any.

    Like 2
  10. Bmac777 Member

    I can’t make any claim for the automatic or your friends driving ability, but my buddy’s 5 speed could stay pretty close to my 70 Cutlass Supreme / Rocket 350 -4bbl with headers, and I beat GN’s with that car.

  11. Troy

    Friend had one with 5 speed
    I beat it with my 85 GT 5.0 carbureted car
    Beat the Camaro Iroc’s in town too
    Beat a 445 Trans Am from the Smoky Bandit era
    Beat an 86 Auto Mustang GT
    Beat another 85 GT without the roller cam later cars like mine had
    And out ran the DPS in a 5.0 he had to stop and wait to turn around and I planted my foot and exited down the road before he came over the hill and never saw me
    I had fun back in the day in that car
    Then I graduated to superchargers with 5.0’s

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